Project Description

Norman ROBERTSON was born in Dundee, Scotland, as were his forebears, on 1 November, 1923. Norman discusses his education and acquiring his apprenticeship as a carpenter/joiner. He joined the Navy during WWII when he was 18 years of age after completing two years of his apprenticeship.

In 1944 he was based in Belgium, saw action, came out of the Navy at 22 and finished his apprenticeship. Norman came to Australia after finishing his apprenticeship and worked in the Midland Workshops on a casual basis awaiting the end of a rail strike. He stayed in Campbell Barracks in Swanbourne then set out for Canberra but stopped in Sydney and worked at Public Works Departments and then freelance work around the East coast. Next he went to New Guinea to work then returned to Australia and eventually to Western Australia and continued to work in the building industry.

He met Bobbie and married in 1953, had one child, then moved to Port Hedland where their second child was born. Norm worked for himself as a contractor. The family came south and bought a house in Bunbury and Norman worked for contractors all around the South West.

He got a job with the Busselton Shire in 1963 as the Building Surveyor and later under Harry Banks as the Assistant Engineer for the Shire of Busselton. Both he and Norman were directly responsible to the Shire Clerk. They gained grants from the Tourist Development Authority for road works, development work, and toilets and Norman and Harry Banks worked closely together planning improvements.

He talks about the personnel in the Shire, the Councillors and the West Busselton Town Planning Scheme – and how his job affected his family life. Norman discusses the drainage for roads, deep sewage, the floods in 1963 and 1964, the Vasse Diversion Drain, the cycle path, cyclone Alby, the jetty, the groynes built to stop erosion, boat ramps, and the boat marina.

Norman retired in 1985 at the age of 62 years and spent time on furniture making. He liked bike riding and was involved in the Fitness Club and Torchbearers for Legacy.